Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fringe: The Bishop Revival Review

I was under the assumption that this episode, based on the title, would blow open the secret about Peter that Walter's been keeping. Regrettably that will have to wait until next week, but this was still a more than solid episode that revealed quite a bit of the Bishop mythology we didn't know about. This week focused on a mysterious 100 year old Nazi who begins subjecting people who aren't of The Master Race, a Nazi belief of what the ideal human being should look like, to a death that makes the gas chambers seem preferable.

Now this may not have been Fringlourious Basterds, but it still had quite a bit of dark character work in it. It turns out that Walter's father was spying on the Nazis for the Allies, and while he was working with Nazi scientists he created a weapon that targeted specific character traits of human beings. Much of the episode consists of the team seeking out the books that Walter's father kept much of his work in, which Peter sold during his fit of rage after Walter was condemned to a life at a mental institution. Walter is takes this specific case especially personal given the circumstances, and that pushes him to do such an extreme move as murder.

Ultimately it was another drama filled, quick paced hour that mainly focused on Peter and Walter, which left Olivia once again taking the back seat. This season you could almost forget that she's the one who brought the group together in the first place. However the next episode promises a healthy dose of heroism from Dunham, as well as a reveal about the "abilities" that she was given by William Bell. My grade for this episode is 8.0 out of 10.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Howard Shore to score Twilight Saga: Eclipse :(

I think that a kind, loving, beautiful female child under the age of 6 dies every time something amazingly good happens for The Twilight Saga. So I must say with pain and misery that Howard Shore, the composer of the scores for the Lord of the Rings Trilogy as well as The Departed, and the recently released Edge of Darkness, is going to write the score for the third installment of the unexplainably successful Twilight franchise. For months I have been fighting with myself at night over wasting another two precious hours of my life to Stephanie Meyers' atrocity of nature, but now I have to see this film.

Forget the fact that since the film was made in 6 months it's likely to be cheesier and more hillarious than the previous film, and the fact that there is "more action in this installment". Howard Shore has made a name for himself over the years as a man who knows how to write musical scores that have a scope. Maybe, just maybe, he can trick us into believing that Eclipse is more epic than it actually is. I highly doubt it, but we'll just have to wait and see it (cue me sobbing uncontrollably for several hours).

3 To See in February

3. Frozen - In a February mostly dominated by thrillers, Frozen is perhaps the most low-key of them, yet it has already shown how affective it is. After premiering to an excited group at Aint it Cool News' (It's now in the partner sites list in the side bar) Butt-Numb-a-Thon, and proving effective enough to knock a woman unconscious, I dare say that this could be one of the surprise horror gems of the year. The basic plot focuses on 3 skiers who are trapped on a ski lift, right before the resort closes down for 5 days, right before a hurrican comes passing through. Add up all of your fears in that sort of situation, and you have a decent idea of what's in store for you. Seeing as it isn't high on too many radars I can't see the film getting too much money, but it may appeal to large audiences after word's spread. To see the trailer go here:
2. The Wolfman - This project has been closely watched for several months, after going through more than it's fair share of delays. Now it can definitively be said that it will be releasing with the next month (most likely). The remake of the classic horror film brings together a great cast of classical actors (Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, and Hugo Weaving) to tell the story of a man who is afflicted by a terrible curse, and if you don't know what the curse means then there is simply no hope for you. Add in modern visual effects, and a dark score by Danny Elfman, and you have an at least alright gory spectacle. Expect around $40-50 million opening weekend, ultimately getting around $120 million. Here's the trailer via Youtube:
1. Shutter Island - A few months ago this had huge Academy Awards potential. Then Paramount wimped out, and pushed it out to February to avoid the cost of an Oscar campaign. It's truly a shame, but I still believe that the film will find an audience. Martin Scorcese has brought in great box office from several other R-rated dramas, based on his amazing direction, and the everpresence of Leonardo DiCaprio. This film has a slightly stranger tale of two deputy marshalls who are trapped on at a criminal mental hospital on an island when they find out disturbing secrets about the true nature of the facility. The first trailer did a great job of effectively terrifying me. The second trailer only amplified that, but the most effective preview by far has been the 30 second montage that was shown at the Golden Globes last week. Expect big box office potential for this film, opening probably too $40-50 million, but gaining enough legs to carry through the barren first few weeks of March and ending with around $150 million. Find the two trailers on your own. Here's that 30 second preview:

Friday, January 29, 2010

Edge of Darkness Review

Martin Campbell's films have ranged from painfully awful (Legend of Zorro) to inspringly amazing (Casino Royale), and Edge of Darkness lands just in the middle. The factors needed to make this a great action film are there. They've got Mel Gibson, got the writer of The Departed, and got several brilliant technical credits to back them up. The problem primarily lies in the British miniseries which the film is based on. Also directed by Martin Campbell, the series was heavily influenced by fear of nuclear destruction at the time.

So if you put a storyline about nuclear weapons into a 21st century setting, it's going to feel out of place. Another thing that the film lacked was what was guaranteed by the trailer: Action. Regrettably the film just knocks on the door of becoming a full paced thrill ride, but it doesn't quite get there. Taken this isn't. Pretty much every action shot in the film is featured in the trailer. Not to say that the film fails in it's execution when an action scene does arise. All of the kill scenes, especially the murder of Craven's daughter, are violent and unforgiving, and I mean really violent. When the guy shoots Emma Craven, you see her catapult back with her guts flying everywhere.

Mel Gibson's performance is the best thing about the film. He carries the emotional weight of what happens to him through the screen. Ray Winstone is the only actor who holds own against Gibson, in his role as a government agent with an agenda of his own. The rest of the actors don't do truly exemplary work, but they are not nearly as awful as Danny Huston, who play the psychotic corporate dirtbag who's behind everything. He's not the sort of villain that you enjoy. He's the sort of villain that you don't care about what happens to him or what he does. You just hate him.

The script does it's best in redeeming the culturally irrelevent plot, and Campbell shows his experience in directing action after Casino Royale, washing away any doubt in his ability to bring to the screen the Green Lantern film coming out next year. Still I'd have to say that if you intend to see this film, it's best to wait until it's out on dvd. My grade for Edge of Darkness is B-.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Miramax is dead!

It's official. The production company that brought us the violent beginnings of Quentin Tarantino, created such beloved gems as The Queen, There Will Be Blood, and Chicago, and has been the home of the animated Pokemon movie franchise since a millenia ago has met it's tragic end. To be truthful, who can blame them? They failed to get a film from the past year into the awards race, and the company only existed as place for Harvey Weinstein to distribute films from, and now he has his own company, which is behind one of the big awards contenders this year, Inglourious Basterds.

Still it will be sad to see it go away. Often when a small, but amazing film had nowhere else to turn, they'd go to the sheltering bosom of Miramax, and find that they were loved. I was one of the 7 people who saw Adventureland, the company's greatest achievement in its final year, and if it had been released late in the year, it would have a great shot a grabbing that 10th Oscar nomination that has been hanging around loosely for a while. Miramax also brought to America what I believe to be the greatest film ever made, Princess Mononoke. Despite this setback, I'm sure that somehow the greatest films will find their way to theatres.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Clash of the Titans, and Final Harry Potter films being released in 3D

6 weeks ago Avatar confirmed an already widely known fact that there is money to be had from releasing a major motion picture in 3D. Now Warner Bros. is taking the hint, and converting their Clash of the Titans remake, and the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows adaptations into 3D. This news should be taken with a good amount of skepticism, seeing as the affect that 3D had on quickly cut action scenes in Avatar was less than desirable. Don't get me wrong, 3D can be a remarkably beautiful medium, but for a 2+ hour film it can have a somewhat degrading affect. But I may of course be wrong. It may just be that way with Avatar. We'll see.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Fringe: What Lies Below Review

First I have to say, and people should pay attention to this, that if you are completely new to the series Fringe, this is a great episode to watch to get you hooked on the series, that stands on it's own and doesn't drag at all. After a relatively uninteresting and somewhat boring stand-alone episode last week, Fringe gets right back on its feet with a thrilling installment that gets the ball rolling for a pretty heavy secret to be revealed in a few weeks time. This week's plot includes a 75,000 year old virus that already destroyed almost all life on earth once before, and is planning on doing it again, and Peter and Olivia are trapped in the middle of it.

What Lies Below is set at fast pace, similar to J.J. Abrams' other works like Star Trek, and the story only takes place within a few hours. Another great aspect is the emotional conflict of it, especially when Peter is infected with the virus. It gets Walter to the precipice of revealing his darkest secret, and it may just be a small crack that will rapidly spread until the glass ultimately shatters, and if you don't understand that metaphor then this series is probably far to sophisticated for you. So if you have any sense in you, go to Hulu and watch Fringe: What Lies Below right now! My grade for this episode is 7.8 out of 10.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Edge of Darkness: This year's Taken?

January of 2009 was a dark time for films, when the highest grossing film of the year so far was Paul Blart: Mall Cop, and we were still being haunted by the spectre of Marley and Me. Thankfully Liam Neeson (Taken) came around to remind us why we usually go to movies: to see awesome people kill total douchebags. That was a year ago, and this year is shaping in a somewhat similar fashion. We've had Avatar carrying itself into this year, and Dwayne Johnson has once again reminded us of the fact that we hate him for making crappy films like Tooth Fairy.
But this friday, there is a chance to redeem all of that with the Mel Gibson starring Edge of Darkness. It's pretty much the same plot as Taken except instead of the old detective killing to save his daughter, he's killing to avenge his daughter, and instead of drugs and prostitutes it's radioactive materials and corrupt corporate leaders, and instead of some random guy helping the main guy out, he's helped out by Ray Winstone. Actually for all intents and purposes, this is nothing like Taken. In fact, it looks better than Taken

So what do you think? Is Edge of Darkness going to be as big as Liam Neeson's action film last year, or will it simply fall by the waistside? Most importantly, will it beat Avatar this weekend, because I think none of us wants to hear that Avatar won the weekend again again.

Oscar Nomination Ballots Due Today!

So today is the fateful final day in which Academy Award nomination ballots are accepted. I've made my opinion on what should be nominated in the main race quite clear over the weeks, but here's a little refresher on my choices as of today for Best Picture:

-An Education
-Up in the Air
-The Hurt Locker
-Inglourious Basterds
-District 9
-A Serious Man
-Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
-The Messenger

As I stated the other day, I have taken Avatar out of my choices because it frankly isn't worthy enough to be nominated. Instead I put in what is in my opinion, the superior Sci-fi film in the race District 9. On this list there are only 4 films I haven't seen: An Education, Precious, A Serious Man, and The Messenger. As soon as I get a chance to see any of those films I will take it, in a second. Half-Blood Prince is my leap of faith, from which I will likely crash into a watery abyss and die, but I'm willing to take that chance. The only other race in which I really care what gets nominated is Cinematography which I think Bruno Delbonnel should be nominated for his work on the latest Harry Potter. That is my only other point of interest as far as nominations go. So in about two weeks we'll find out what films come out on top.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Invention of Lying, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Reviews

It's amazing that somebody can change the world in such a hugely positive way and still be considered a loser, and while it's an aspect of films that is mocked by critics, it still has solid grounds in reality. Rarely have I seen a double feature of two films with similar stories and themes. Often I pick out random double features like Up and Drag Me to Hell, or Saw IV and Camp Rock. Today however I found myself unintentionally coupling The Invention of Lying with Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
The Invention of Lying has a pretty simple concept that has been completely fleshed out to encompass an entire world. In a world without any lying there is no creative art, no creative writing, no acting, and no religion, one man has evolved the concept of lying, and while he at first uses it for personal gain, he goes on to use it to make people happy. It's at times very funny, and at times very deep and emotional. The world Ricky Gervais has created factually is more original and well rounded than the world that James Cameron created for Avatar.

However Gervais's film has the same pitfalls as Avatar. The plot isn't really as fleshed out as the world it inhabits. It eventually falls down to a simple love story which you think the film would rise above, but it doesn't. It kills me when they create a world like this and they don't fully use it. The pacing isn't that great either, especially in the scene where Ricky Gervais's character invents religion. You'd think that they could've found a way of explaining religion that didn't take up so much time and not even try to mask how much time it has taken up.
As for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, it too deals with an inventor, but in a much more literal fashion. The world they live in is much more reliant on corny childish dialogue, and in any other film it would've gone to waste, but here it works to create some much needed hillarity. As for the story and the pacing, they are both fitted to maintaining the film as a pure parody of the Action-Disaster film genre. The final action sequence takes up nearly half of the film's running time.

It doesn't really go all the way on the emotional level, but it doesn't have to. The jokes are enough to keep us actively entertained in the films. These aren't simple throw away jokes that aren't really jokes and are just plain dialogue like in Invention of Lying. They are memorable stabs at the many constant factors in any action movie. Overall I found myself enjoying Cloudy much more than Invention. My Grade for Invention of Lying is a B-. My Grade for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is B.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Two Things I Learned From Thusday Night

So last night I got an incredible opportunity to see the movie Avatar in Imax 3D. The first time I saw Avatar, it was pretty unamazing. The second time, I was really able to drink in the gorgeous imagery of the film. This third time was a mixed basket. The first thing I learned from my adventure was how amazing it is to watch a movie in Imax. The first 30 minutes of Avatar were so immersive and epic and despite the cornball dialogue I was able to get into. What happened after that leads me to the second thing I learned from last evening.

Avatar really isn't that good. Is it alright? Sure, but the fact of the matter is that it has so much going against it. As soon as the Thanator chase sequence comes you lose sense of what's going on. This is probably the first and only case so far in which 3D worked against the movie it was used on. On a regular film the action sequence might feel in place, but in 3D it just made me sick, and confused. Then the film started to get a little better for a while, until we reached "The Tree of Souls" which sounds like it's in a death match with "The Matrix of Leadership" from Transformers 2.

Then we got deeper into the conflict, and the action was a little more comprehensible, but I really couldn't feel the emotional force of each death. I felt sorry for the Navi crushed by the tree for a minute, but then was apathetic to their cause. Grace's death was a straight throwaway, with no emotional potency whatsoever. Trudy's death wasn't believable because we see her face as the ship is about to explode, then it cuts away so we don't even see the full violence of her death, and we just see the ship exploding on the outside.

The 2 people to blame for the pitfalls of this film are James Cameron, and James Horner, the director/screenwriter and composer respectively. I doubt that Cameron knows how to make a good story anybody, and I'm sure that James Horner can't make a good score anymore. Too much of the film felt like Titanic, and I wasn't happy about that. Ultimately I reach my final conclusion that while it may be a fun action film, it does not deserve to win Best Picture. For that matter it doesn't deserve to even be nominated. There were so many good movies this year, and of all of them, Avatar kind of sits near the bottom of the stack.
In summary, Imax is amazing, Avatar isn't.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

(Updated) Trailer Tuesday: Macgruber

The only trailer of note this week just came this morning, in the form of the Red Band trailer for the SNL adaptation Macgruber. I haven't had any doubts in this film so far, and I still have no doubts. It doesn't matter if the reviews are simply middling. This isn't the type of film that can mess up. This is a film that will be enjoyed despite how bad it may be. It has Kristen Wiig in a role that isn't a cameo, and that is something more than what she's done before. Here's the trailer: Youtube took it down, so seriously, go find it yourself.

Marc Webb Confirmed for Directing Spiderman

And so it comes to pass that the director of (500) Days of Summer is now going to direct the Spiderman reboot. I can't say I'm surprised or disapointed by any of this, except for the fact that they're rebooting the franchise at all. Still of all the directors they could've chosen, they actually chose a good one and that comforts me, and tells me that maybe they know what they're doing.

Alexandre Desplat to score "Deathly Hallows: Part 1"

After starting out as just a rumor, it has been confirmed that Alexandre Desplat (Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Fantastic Mr. Fox) will score the first of the two films based on the final Harry Potter book. I am definitely skeptical of this. You will notice that I did not mention his most recent musical score to date (Twilight: New Moon). Nonetheless I believe that he should do a great job. If not for his hauntingly beautiful score for Benjamin Button, or for his fantastically old fashioned score for Mr. Fox, then because the score for New Moon was probably the best thing about the film.

Desplat knows how to right fantasy scores, and he knows what melodies suit which films. Nobody could've made New Moon good. That's just a fact. Still Desplat did an outstanding job of orchestrating a believable love story musically at the very least. He knows should know how much the Harry Potter Franchise means to people, so if he screws up then he really does deserve hell. But if he perfectly matches the tone of the film like he has with past films, then this could in every way be the best film yet.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Golden Globes: What Was Good? What Sucked?

Best- Martin Scorcese Award Introduction - Robert Deniro's introduction to Scorcese was pretty hilarious, and Leonardo DiCaprio's was... alright. But the best part was the montage of film clips from Scorcese's past films, including a short sneak peek at Shutter Island, which somehow managed to be creepier than any of the trailers.

Worst- Martin Scorcese Acceptance Speech - It was Martin Scorcese talking for a long time. Enough said.

Best - Robert Downey Jr. Acceptance Speech - As soon as he got up on stage he sarcastically thanked his wife "for telling me that Matt Damon was gonna win and not to prepare an exceptance speech." I love it when comedic actors accept awards, without prepared speeches. You never know what you're gonna get.

Worst - Ricky Gervais Hosting - It brakes my heart, but I expected more from Ricky Gervais, who was barely in the show, and took too much of his time praising the actors and selfpromoting his crap. Optimistically Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin will manage to do a good job at the Oscars.

Best - Jeff Bridges is looking a lot like Leonardo Dicaprio - During the announcing of the Best Actor Drama category, when Jeff Bridge's name was announced they immediately cut to a frame of Leonardo Dicaprio, who's confuse by the camera on him, but then starts applauding anyway.

Worst - James Cameron's Acceptance Speeches - I had thought that after all these years that James Cameron had grown since he'd written the script for Avatar 13 years ago. No such luck. He is just as dull in talking to, as he is while writing.

Best - Kathryn Bigelow's Malfunctioned Clone - While trading frames between Kathryn Bigelow, and James Cameron's wife I noticed that Cameron's wife looks so much like Kathryn Bigelow except OLD! It's as if when Cameron broke up with Kathryn Bigelow, he seized her DNA, and cloned her (It's Cameron. He has the technology!), but there was some sort of horrible malfunction and she turned out extremely decayed, and James Cameron has to feed her pituitary glands in order to sustain her. And if you don't know what that means, for the love of God watch Fringe Season 1!

Golden Globe Winners

Well, the winners of the Golden Globes have been announced and they were pretty much unexpected, but if we expect anything but a barrel of upsets when we go to the Golden Globes then we simply haven't learned anything from past years. Here is the winners list:

Best Picture, Drama - Avatar
Best Picture, Musical/Comedy - The Hangover
Best Director - James Cameron, Avatar
Best Actor, Musical/Comedy - Robert Downey, Jr., Sherlock Holmes
Best Actress, Musical/Comedy - Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
Best Actress, Drama - Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Best Actor, Drama - Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
Best Supporting Actress - Mo’Nique, Precious
Best Supporting Actor - Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Best Screenplay - Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air
Best Animated Film - Up
Best Song - “The Weary Kind,” Crazy Heart
Best Score - Up
Best Foreign Language Film - The White Ribbon
Cecil B. DeMille Award - Martin Scorsese


So what did we expect? Christoph Waltz, Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, and Monique won for their respective acting categories, Up won Original Score, and Animated Feature, and Up in the Air won for Screenplay. The rest were pretty much complete surprises. It was sad that The Hurt Locker went home with nothing. I may like Avatar more than The Hurt Locker, but I think can agree that The Hurt Locker is a better film than Avatar. Ultimately it was mostly a race of which film grossed the most money, and it offered little to no insight into the outcome of the Oscars.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Harry Potter 6: Why Do I Even Bother?

First of all I'd like to apologize for posting a picture of Conan O'Brien on my blog. I have to say I was a little freaked out every time I opened the page. So after a pretty awful weekend, I pretty much feel like I have to explain why I put Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on my list of films to be nominated. I realize that in all likelihood it won't get nominated. In fact it's a mathematical certainty that it won't be nominated. Why do I even bother? Lets get out of the way the fact that I'm a huge fan of the Potter Franchise. That didn't factor into my decision. The thing about HBP is that it takes the franchise into new areas, and it feels more real than it has before. For the first time there is a sense of urgency, that horrible things are happening to a world that we actually care about. Not only is the threat of the Death Eaters percolating into our world, with their attack on a muggle bridge, but the characters actually act a little more realistically.

The thing most people dislike about the film is the dominance of the romantic storylines in the Harry Potter series. Fans kept screaming about how they wanted it to be more faithful to the book with more action, yet they screamed at the attack at the Burrow scene, which wasn't in the book. To clear up a few things that may have confused people, but I understood immediately, the reason they removed the Battle at Hogwarts at the end of the film, was to avoid repetition with the final film which also has a Hogwarts battle at the end. In the Burrow scene, the Death Eaters were quite obviously trying to get Harry, but they were outnumbered by Order members so they had to retreat. And given the feeling of the film, if they had put in the funeral scene it would've really felt out of place, and emotionless.

For once they made a Harry Potter film that felt like it had a narrative thread carrying it through to the end, instead of a mash-up of events that are pretty much disjointed, like Sorceror's Stone, and Chamber of Secrets. If you could say one good thing about Order of the Pheonix, it's that it felt like a singular story, which is something that David Yates seems particularly skilled with. Perhaps one of the greatest things about this film is that it is just a precursor. All of the events of the story, which would otherwise seem pointless, feel like they're setting up for the final confrontation with Voldemort.

As far as the rest of the film goes, the acting is perfect as usual. Jim Broadbent delivers an Oscar worthy performance as Horace Slughorn, a comedic, yet tragic figure. Alan Rickman is top of his game as usual. Michael Gambon does his best performance to date as the historic father figure and Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore. The comedy is handled greatly, as is the teenage romance, which isn't raunchy like the Judd Apatow films, but truly sweet. This film hit a wide variety of emotions, putting in the brightest scenes in the Harry Potter series to date, as well as the darkest scariest scenes. I try not to put in too many spoilers, even with something as wide known as this, but even if you know the story, it is still well worth the 2 and 1/2 hour running time.

Other Oscars that the film deserves nominations for are Bruno Delbonel for Cinematography, Nicholas Hooper for Original Score, Jim Broadbent for Supporting Actor, and Visual Effects.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Conan O'Brien: The Latest Sacrifice of the Dying Economy

So if you haven't heard, Conan O'Brien has been forced out of his position as host of The Tonight Show, on account of a ratings downturn since Leno left the show. Jay Leno is supposed to take back hosting duties of his show after O'Brien has left, and his show, which has been getting even lower ratings, will be canceled. In the second of two disappointing breakup stories this week that have pissed me off, I must repeat my immortal act of referring to a certain studio (NBC) as a non-studio. I can't really support NBC at all anymore, mostly because they have only one good show (The Office) and I can watch that on Hulu.

NBC has never been known for having good ratings, nor have they been known for making good decisions. For example, Heroes should no longer be on the air by now, but it's still going for some reason. And now they make this BS move and knock Conan to the crowded curb of unemployment. I look at the facts of this confrontation, and keep coming out on Conan's side. For one thing, in Jay Leno's first few months of hosting The Tonight Show, he didn't get as good ratings as Johnny Carson. When Conan took hold of The Tonight Show, NBC immediately signed him on to do a talk show at 10 p.m. which ultimately turned out to not be funny, and to not get good ratings.

And now, once again NBC is bending over for Jay Leno to get what he wants. This may have simply been a conspiracy all along. 5 years ago Conan signs on to leave The Late Show, and join The Tonight Show, and NBC planned to write Jay Leno crappy jokes so that his show would get low ratings, and they would rely on the bad economy to take care of Conan, and all along they have planned this all just to get Conan off television forever. Well there is one thing that they didn't count on, and that's FOX.

FOX seems to be working really hard to sign Conan O'Brien on to do a late night show, seeing as he won't be on NBC anymore. I really hope he works out that deal, because if he does then I don't have a reason to watch NBC anymore. The Office is on the same time as Fringe, and Saturday Night Live is on kind of late on a saturday. I mean, who stays up late on a saturday to watch a comedy show, when they can stay up late on a weekday to watch a comedy show? Who does that? So thank you for indulging my endless ragings on the stupidity of non-studios.

Fringe: Johari Window Review

So of all the shows on tv, my absolute favorite is Fringe. Nothing crushed me more than seeing its ratings go down against such huge shows as Greys Anatomy, and The Office, and even though I love The Office, I am a loyal follower of Fringe, and I'm going to help it out in any way I can, including putting it on my site. So this weeks episode of Fringe was more of a stand alone episode than the last episode Grey Matters, but it still achieved quite a wide range of emotions that left me a little fatigued, but still interested throughout.

The plot of the episode took place in the small town of Edina, where there have been sightings of deformed human beings for several years, but now there seems to be concrete evidence that they exist, and will do anything to keep their existence a secret. While at first it seemed like a case of man-turns-into-beast, it turned out to be something that was both more and less horrific at the same time. I was so delighted to find that it called back to Walter's shady past before being checked into the asylum. We dealt with the ramifications of his early work at the beginning of the series but we haven't really seen much of that this season.

Another one of the great things about the series is that it doesn't rely completely on the independent episode format. Each episode intigrates quite fluently into the mythology, with the characters still recovering from the events of previous episodes, and silent nods to Walter's dark secret which has only ever been fully revealed in last season's finale. In fact I keep wondering what the season two episodes would feel like if they never revealed that crucial information. There'd probably be so much more mystery and intrigue to it all.

As far as smaller episodes that don't deal too much with the mythology go, this one was pretty great. All of the small moments hit just the right chord, and every action filled second is felt in full blast. Unfortately the title has nothing to do with the rest of the episode so ultimately my grade for this episode is 7.6 out of 10

Critics Choice Awards Winners

So last night because of unforseen and unfortunate circumstances I wasn't able to see the critics choice awards which is a shame. However the winners do give us some perspective into who may win the Oscar come March, as will the winners of the Golden Globes which I will not allow myself to miss. So here is the complete list of winners:

Best Picture- The Hurt Locker
Best Director- Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Best Original Screenplay- Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
Best Adapted Screenplay- Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air
Best Acting Ensemble-Inglourious Basterds
Best Actor- Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
Best Actress- (tie) Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia; Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Best Supporting Actor- Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Best Supporting Actress- Mo’Nique, Precious
Best Young Actress- Saoirse Ronan, The Lovely Bones
Best Documentary- The Cove
Best Foreign Language Film- Broken Embraces
Best Animated Movie- Up
Best Comedy Movie- The Hangover
Best Score- Michael Giacchino, Up
Best Song- “The Weary Kind,” Crazy Heart
Best Costume Design- The Young Victoria
Best Make-Up- District 9
Best Action Movie- Avatar
Best- Cinematography- Avatar
Best Visual Effects- Avatar
Best Art Direction- Avatar
Best Editing- Avatar
Best Sound- Avatar

So in review, Avatar took home several technical awards as we knew it would, and will likely do again at the Oscars, and perhaps the reason it didn't win Best Picture was simply because it had its own category to win (Action Movie). Up shot down the buzz that has been collecting for Fantastic Mr. Fox, by winning Best Animated Feature, and if it can repeat that performance on sunday at the Golden Globes, it may be a lock for the Oscar. The Best Actress category was an overall upset when Meryl Streep, and Sandra Bullock tied for the win, taking out the frontrunners Carey Mulligan (An Education) and Gabourey Sidibe (Precious). And finally The Hurt Locker took Best Picture and Best Director. The rest of the awards were spread across the board to different films.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Weekend Line-Up

This is a pretty important weekend for awards shows. Tonight is the Critics Choice Awards hosted by Kristen Chenowyth on VH1 at 9, and on Sunday is the Golden Globes hosted by Ricky Gervais at 8. So expect updates on the awards recieved, and on the overall performance of the broadcasts. I'm also going to start on some television reviews with my review of the latest new episode of Fringe, and then starting on monday, my reviews of How I Met Your Mother. As soon as April comes along I'll start up on GLEE again. I'll also be voicing out the reasons for my decision to have Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince on my list of films that should be nominated for Best Picture. So until then... well you're just gonna have to wait.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Spiderman Reboot Director Shortlist

After spewing my undying hate in the faces of Sony, this news kind of lightens the anger in my soul after the death of Spiderman 4. They have announced the four directors they are considering for their Spiderman Reboot, and in response: not bad. They are as follows:

-James Cameron (Aliens, Terminator 2, Avatar)
-David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club, Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
-Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr. Fox)
-Marc Webb ((500) Days of Summer)

Sony seems to know that they have to get an amazing director to fill Sam Raimi's shoes, and these four certainly fit the bill. James Cameron is James Cameron. No more needs to be said in that area. David Fincher has proven himself a fantastic artful director with his long line of amazing films. Wes Anderson hasn't really done to many films of notice, but his work on Fantastic Mr. Fox was simply brilliant. I'm not sure if he has the right style for the Spiderman series though. As for Marc Webb, after seeing (500) Days of Summer I don't care that he's a relatively new director. If he signs on to direct the new Spiderman film, consider my ass in the seat on opening night. Sony is beginning it's long, slow climb from rock bottom with a nice start. Lets see how they follow up.

The Hurt Locker Review

I'm going to be quite honest with people on this, and in all likeliness it will cause people to think I'm crazy, and perhaps condemn my blog to death, but I really didn't like The Hurt Locker that much. I saw it at the height of its run when people were saying it was a lock for a Best Picture nomination, and reviews were skyrocketing, and perhaps the huge amounts of hype had an adverse affect on me. I ultimately found myself leaving the theatre disappointed, and unsatisfied.
The film seem narratively hashed together, with these characters being put together and then simply doing their job. Is it a risky job? Yes. Is there a ton tension while their doing it? Yes. Does it really go anywhere? I frankly couldn't tell. The job of the three main characters is to go out to populated areas (in Iraq?) and disarm bombs. The head of the team is really a cut-loose and risky sort of guy, who stays out there to the very last second, because he loves his job. He was married, and had a child, but ultimately in the end he decides he doesn't really care as much about them as he does his job. As Ryan Bingham's sister said in Up in the Air "What kind of a fucked up message is that?"

The greatest amount of emotional tension is when the team is told to disarm a "body bomb", which if you couldn't tell from the name, is a bomb surgically placed inside a human body. That situation played out on screen exactly how I saw it in my head, and I mean exactly. Nothing shocked me about it, and I felt that I'd already seen this film before. Ultimately the film is an mash-up of the mission the team did, and somebody decided which were most relevant and put them together, but I ultimately found that there was something missing from the film, that I couldn't quite put my finger on.

Now that it's several months later I can tell that what was missing in the film, was the emotional revelation, or the conquest of evil that should come at the end. But there was no emotional change in the character, or any lasting victory for the group. We just reaffirm who the characters are and what the aspects of their characters are. I just didn't find a reason for me to be in the theatre at all. Sure there were some powerful aspects of the film, and it does a realistic portrayal of how things in Iraq are, but I expect something more from a film. Also, one thing that I can't stand is that this film at one point got hype for best original score, which if you see the film you will realize how ridiculous it is. My grade for this film is 3 out of 4 stars.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Trailer Tuesday: The A-Team and Kick-Ass

So this begins my weekly updates on the note-worthy trailers of the past week, and there are really only two trailers worthy of mentioning. The first is the teaser trailer for the movie adaptation of the old TV show The A-Team. Having not seen the show I can't comment on how close the film seems to it, however I must say that I'm getting an eery G.I. Joe vibe coming from this trailer. To those who had the luck of not seeing G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra it was truly the worst movie of the entire year. That said, The A-Team has a cast of actors whom I would follow into the pits of hell itself (and whoever the hell play the black guy). So given that fact I will probably see this film, and likely be disappointed. But I remain hopeful. Here's the trailer:

The second trailer is for the much hyped about superhero flick Kick-Ass. I've had a healthy skepticism about this film for quite some time. Even though every early review of this film that I've read praises it as one of the best superhero films in years, the less-than-perfect cinematography of these trailers worries me, and many of the jokes seem unfinished. It may just be them cutting the trailer for time to make it decently lengthed, but as of this moment I remain decently intrigued, and excited, but not fully convinced. Still it looks pretty interesting so I say check it out:

Monday, January 11, 2010

R.I.P. Spiderman 4

It's Official: Tobey Maguire's Career is Over! After a few years of trying roles that aren't Spiderman, and then subsequently failing, any hopes of Tobey Maguire returning to the Spiderman franchise have been stomped out. Sony has announced that they are rebooting the Spiderman franchise with a new cast and crew. Now this pisses me off for several reasons, the first of which is that I know that Sam Raimi could've definitely made an amazing fourth film, seeing as he's gotten his groove back after Drag Me to Hell. So now he can go off and make that World of Warcraft film he's been signed on to direct. Tobey Maguire is the one who is really screwed by this news. After seeing Brothers, and deciding it just wasn't important enought to write a review for, I am convinced that Tobey Maguire really can't act in any role other than Spiderman. Among the others whom we will miss in the series are Bruce Campbell (God Bless Him), and Dylan Baker whose chances of being anything more than a cameo have been extinguished. To those who aren't avid geek followers of Spiderman lore, Dylan Baker's character eventually transforms into the villain known as the Lizard, but any hope of that special effect has certainly left the building. And to John Malkovich, whose role of The Vulture we will never see, I send my deepest regrets. So from now on I shall refer to Sony Pictures, or Columbia, or any other film studios that Sony owns, as Non-studios. Their only real franchise was Spiderman and now that that ship has more or less sailed they really aren't much of a Studio anymore. So shame on them and may they rot in hell! Thank you for listening.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

News Update: Avatar Conquers (again), Zombieland Writers Sign on for a sequel (again), and Cameron's Epic Disaster Movie (again)

Well my Holiday Hiatus is officially over, and I will be immediately posting daily updates on the relevant events. So now that everybody has already heard most of this news I'm actually going to announce it.

Avatar is the Second Highest Grossing Film of All Time
Avatar has surpassed box-office expectations in a matter of just 3 weeks. Having so far grossed 1.2 billion dollars worldwide, it only makes sense that they'll make more money. I estimate that the Epic Fantasy should take in at least another 100 million domestically, and at least another 200 million internationally, culminating in a final gross from 1.5-1.6 billion. Having seen the film a second time I can finally take a side, and my review for the film will be up by the end of the day.

Zombieland writers sign on to G.I. Joe 2
After signing on to write a sequel to Zombieland, a Venom spin-off, and a Deadpool spin-off, Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese have signed on to pen the sequel to the summer disappointment G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Personally I have very little faith in Stephen Sommers' ability to make a good, or even entertaining movie, and when I think about Zombieland, the weakest thing I can remember is the screenplay. They were able to pull it off because of grade A direction, and an A+ cast. Given the fact that the first movie was the single most painful experience of my life, I don't really think that G.I. Joe 2 has a chance in hell of being good. But if the trailer really impresses me, I might go out there to see it and subject myself to even more potential misery.

James Cameron might make a film about Hiroshima
Twice now has James Cameron taken a potentially awful script and turned it into an absolute masterpiece. Now that James Cameron is considering adapting a film based on the recollections of the survivors of the bombing of Hiroshima, he may actually have something amazing on his hands. After seeing Avatar I am convinced that James Cameron is one of the best directors out there, and an event like Hiroshima has so much emotional potential, that should it come to fruition, there will be tears streaming down the aisle of the movie theatres.

Sam Mendes might direct next James Bond Film
Perhaps the biggest news of the week is the announcement that Sam Mendes, who directed films such as American Beauty, Jarhead, and Revolutionary Road, is directing (or consulting on) the next James Bond movie. The rebooted series may now have its genuine masterpiece, given the fact that it's written by Peter Morgan. I personally believe that after giving us The Queen, Frost/Nixon, and The Last King of Scotland, Peter Morgan can do no wrong, except maybe The Other Boleyn Girl. So now that such a great director as Mendes is working on the same James Bond film we definitely have a film that will be good, if not great.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Avatar Has Shattered The 1 Billion Mark Worldwide!

How? How does James Cameron do it? His skills for knowing what audiences like are far beyond my comprehension. Avatar has broken the record for quickest film to reach the 1 billion mark worldwide! Personally when i saw the film I was a little bit underwhelmed. It might be that that's just how I am when I see a movie for the first time or it might be that Avatar genuinely was as medium as I felt when I saw it opening weekend, and everybody else on the planet is being predictably unpredictable and paying to see the most mediocre films over and over again (Case in point: The Twilight Saga), but personally, this is why I'm so hesitant to write a review of this film. I'm not yet sure what to think of the film because of this huge audience reaction. Everybody is saying Avatar is amazing, or the best film ever, and until I see it again I remain skeptical. Help me out here because I'm simply confused by this deformation of natural event.

(500) Days of Summer Review

I'd just like to let people know in advance that I'm not going to post a review of Avatar until I've seen it a second time. There are some films that you have to revisit in order to make a full opinion of. (500) Days of Summer is not one of those films. The moment the film ended, I knew that I loved it. In fact I'd go as far as saying that the film had me after the opening credits. I often don't understand why all these great films are released independently. It seems to me that a story like this would have quite a few major studios grabbing for it.

The film tells the story of Tom Hansen and Summer Finn. Tom was just an average guy, who lost his opportunity to be an architect, and is now writing cards for a New Hampshire greeting card association. Summer is an amazingly hot girl, who lands a job at the same greeting card company that Tom works at. Tom, who believes in true love, thinks it is love at first site. Summer however does not believe in love at all, but is still somewhat attracted to Tom.

The opening verifies that this is not a love story, but rather a tale of one man finding himself, through a series of miserable situations. It isn't often that a film takes you on the same emotional journey as the main character, but (500) Days of Summer pulls it off. There isn't a moment in which you think Tom is totally out of line. He's a lovable attractive guy with such a nice personality that you've got to fall in love with.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt cements his acting career in this film, and Zooey Deschanel owns her roles as usual. First time director Marc Webb does a great job of balancing each of the elements of this film, especially the comedy. There is a scene that is just too hillarious to spoil in any way, and when it comes you'll just know it. You won't be able to keep from laughing until he comes out of the elevator. My grade for this film 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Best (and Worst) of the Decade!

I might be a little too much of a fan of making lists, but I just feel my site would be completely lame if I didn't do a best of the decade list like all the other sites. So thanks for making my site what it is today: a relatively unknown speck on the face of the internet that ultimately is completely sufficient on me shamelessly self-promoting myself. So here we go, and by the way I'm not going to endlessly bore you with my analasys of each film so I'll just tell you the stuff without the exposition.

Best Action/Adventure Film of the Decade!
The Dark Knight

Best Science Fiction Film of the Decade!

Best Fantasy Film of the Decade!
Pans Labyrinth

Best Crime Film of the Decade!
The Departed

Best Animated Film of the Decade!
Finding Nemo

Best Comedy Film of the Decade!
Knocked Up

Worst Comedy of the Decade!
Evan Almighty

Best Franchise of the Decade!
Lord of the Rings

Worst Franchise of the Decade!
The Twilight Saga

Biggest Franchise of the Decade!
Harry Potter

Highest Costing Film to turn out to SUCK, This Decade!
Spiderman 3

Best Comeback of the Decade!
Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man, Tropic Thunder, Sherlock Holmes)

Best Bounce-back of the Decade!
Sam Raimi (Drag Me to Hell)

Most Anticipated Film of the Decade!

Least Anticipated Film of the Decade!

Saddest Film of the Decade!
Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Best Director of the Decade!
Christopher Nolan (Memento, Insomnia, Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight)

Avatar making Box-Office History! again.

Yesterday James Cameron's Avatar took in another $25,000,000 on its third friday of release. Not only is that up 8% from last friday, but it sets a new record for highest grossing on a third friday. In fact, not only is Avatar on track it shatter the record for third weekend, it looks to be the only film to have a weekend gross above $70 million for three weeks. Expect more records to be broken before the scifi epic leaves theatres. Right now it is on track to close release with $500-550 million, but if it ends up winning quite a few Academy Awards as many expect it will, it could go on to dethrone Titanic as the highest grossing film domestically, trailing behind it only in worldwide grosses.

In other box office news Sherlock Holmes took in nearly $15 million on its second friday, and seems on track to gross a modest $43 million second weekend. The Alvin and the Chipmunks sequel took in $12.5 million looking toward a $33-35 million second weekend, and It's Complicated slipped 1% from last friday to take in $7.1 million, making it likely to match its first weekend total of $21 million.

3 to See in January!

Last January was home to several awful horror films (The Unborn), awful childrens comedies (Hotel for Dogs, Paul Blart: Mall Cop), and Taken. So now we return to what is known to many as the dumping ground for dead movies. To find three films that look like they're not a waste of your money would be a chore any other year, but this year I was able to find at least 3 films of interest and none of them feature characters with wings.

3. Daybreakers Another vampire movie from practically unknown writers and directors whose only known stars are Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill, and the robot girl from Transformers 2. It seems like this sort of film has happened before in the form of Underworld, Blade, or Van Helsing. However early reviews say that while it isn't really a great film and certainly has its detractors, it is still a good and ambitious action filled, vampire film certainly above most of the other vampire films of the past decade. It certainly shows a slightly different premise from the other vampire films. Instead of vampires living in secret, unknown by humans, vampires are the dominant species on the planet. It certainly brings up some practical questions. What about the desire to have children? What about their moral conscience? and what happens when all the blood runs out? Welcome to the apocalypse! again. It's alright to still be sceptical though. I sure am.

2. Youth in Revolt
This film has been around for months and gaining controlled hype. Boasting an allstar comedy cast including Michael Cera, Zach Galafianakis, and... Michael Cera, the film tells the story of an everyday guy who developes a crush on a local girl who doesn't return his feelings. So he developes an alternative personality to help him get the girl. Oh, and he ends up causing destruction to public property, and is hunted by the cops. Sounds to me like it has some potential and even if reviews are mixed it will still find a crowd, most likely somewhere between teen-girl fans of Michael Cera, and just average guys. Maybe a little below average.

1. Edge of Darkness Last year Liam Neeson kicked ass as the CIA operative trying to save his daughter from a life of prostitution. This year they crank it up a notch with Mel Gibson playing a Boston homicide detective looking for revenge for the murder of his only daughter. Add the fact that it's directed by the director of Casino Royale, written by the screenwriter of The Departed, and co-starring Ray Winstone, and you have a beyond awesome crime thriller. The man-with-nothing-to-lose character has been portrayed countless times, but considering that a few of those were also Mel Gibson I'd have to say that he knows what he's doing. It's a good story placed in very capable hands.